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published on 04/15/2006

Traffic Problems at CVS

By staff writer

A called meeting on Thursday, April 13th gave concerned citizens an opportunity to hear Steve Meyer, the consulting engineer asked by the mayor to look into the traffic problems at the new CVS Pharmacy. Mayor Leonard called the informal meeting to order and thanked the more than sixty members of the audience for attending. He then introduced Mr. Meyer, from Volkert Associates who gave an overview of the solution he came up with after reviewing the problem. His solution was converting Ridgeway Drive from Signal Drive to Signal Mountain Boulevard from four lanes to two lanes going north and one lane going south with a conversion/left turn lane in between.

Many residents and business owners present at the meeting questioned Mr. Meyer and the Town Council. Present were Councilmembers White and Paturalski, Mayor Leonard, and the town attorney Phil Noblett and town manager Diana Campbell. Town recorder, Sherry Morrison was also present as was Chief Bo Veal and Loretta Hopper from the town public works department.

The general consensus of those present was that the town NOT choose to use the plan developed by Mr. Meyer. To instead look at options discussed at the meeting including doing nothing at all.

Some of the options discussed included keeping the highway as it is but prohibiting left turns into the CVS parking lot from Hwy 127, instead forcing the traffic to turn left at the light onto Palisades and then right into the parking lot. Traffic coming out of the parking lot would have to turn right only - no left turn or going straight across when exiting the Hwy 127 exit of the parking lot.

In addition to changing the flow of traffic into and out of the CVS parking lot, the speed of the highway was discussed and one option would be to reduce it to 30 mph in the congested zone, reduce the entire town limits to 30 mph so that traffic isn't bouncing from 40 to 30 to 40 to 30 and then back to 40 which would be difficult to enforce according to Chief Veal, or just post a suggested speed of 30 mph through the business district by the light.

As expected, the meeting allowed residents an opportunity to vent. Some are still angry over the CVS being built in the first place; others that the building of the CVS has impacted so many people; and some who felt the town handled the issues around the road change in an improper manner. However, the majority had legitimate concerns and suggestions on solutions to the problems.

Mayor Leonard pointed out that a large portion of business owners who would be affected by the change proposed by the engineer had already met with the town manager to discuss options. He also pointed out that the town is not trying to keep anything from the residents and that it is up to the residents to keep up with what is going on in the town meetings. Agendas are posted in at least fourteen places around town and meetings are reported on in all the papers as well this web site after each meeting so there is ample opportunity for someone to keep up with what is going on.

Mr. Meyer added that his firm is going to do a more in depth traffic study including counting as well as looking a proposed traffic increases after the high school is built and population increases. And Mayor Leonard pointed out that any change in the intersection now might be completely changed again in five years.

In the meantime, the town manager will take into consideration all mentioned at the meeting and concerns brought to her by individuals and will update the entire council at the next regular meeting. The next regular meeting of the Signal Mountain Town Council is Monday, May 8 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall.

The meeting ended at 8:47 pm.
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